Welcome to the first installment of The Good, The Bad, The Random.
What a great way to start these up again. If you’re new here, welcome! The format is simple — we look at the good and bad with what happened to our Spartans on Saturday with some other random riffs too.
It literally can’t get any worse from here the rest of the season...right?
Matt Coughlin. Nice work.
I’m not going to say Mel Tucker is a fraud and we should fire him after one game. But what I will say is that, wow dude, we’re going to preach CULTURE CHANGE and DIFFERENT ENERGY all offseason and come out like that? The only thing different about the energy that it somehow got even lower than last season. Shakur Brown gets an interception to maybe change momentum and he and the sideline react as if they just wrapped up a field trip to the local morgue. And the “Ball security is job security” quote is now just hilarious to read. Seven turnovers. Zero ball protection. It got to the point that the rare times MSU had a nice play or drive going, I was sitting there waiting for the inevitable turnover. There was nothing changed in the demeanor of this team from years past, the energy was changed for the worse and that game was RELENTLESS-ly sloppy.
Let’s talk coaching decisions. The BTN crew opening up the broadcast with saying Connor Heyward is starting over Eli Collins really set the tone. I get a new staff means a clean slate. But you have one guy who was one of the best ball carriers in the conference last season. You have another guy that – before he quit on the team mid-season last fall – proved he doesn’t have the speed, agility or tackle breaking ability to be a primary Big Ten running back. You started the latter? I get the cupboard isn’t necessarily full on this roster, but some of these battles are so obvious that you have to be a moron to not figure it out.
Lets talk more about Jay “Dave Warner Without A Jet Sweep Package” Johnson. I’m just a moron sitting on a couch, and even I predicted every first down play correctly at a 90-plus percent clip. I’m sure it wasn’t that hard for the Rutgers players and staff to figure out either. MSU actually just ran it up the middle for another two-yard loss again on first down while I typed this sentence. In just one game it was made obvious why Johnson has been at four programs in five years. Who could possibly want this guy?
I could bitch and whine for 4,000 words on Warner 2.0, but I’ll let one play sum up the play calling and decision making today: MSU is marching downfield to get into field goal range to end the half. On second-and-right at the 36-yard-line, and instead of throwing it downfield (which was working that drive) again, you do a swing pass to your slowest skill player. Shocking that it went for zero yards. Matt Coughlin bailed them out, but that decision was malpractice.
Speaking of malpractice, where is this supposed quarterback battle? The correct linemen playing? Julian Barnett?
A) The QB battle: Look, Rocky Lombardi was fine. Not good. Not horrible. Just fine. The problem was how he wasn’t trusted to go downfield or really air it out on first down. So you don’t trust your quarterback? How about give one of the other guys a spin? Or are we kid-gloving your starting QB the whole season *and* also not testing other ones?
B) The offensive line is just not good. Devontae Dobbs was out and unavailable, but Nick Samac and J.D. Duplain need to get more spin. Yes, they’re true sophomores. But we’ve also seen enough from some of these more seasoned guys.
C) If you can’t get Julian Barnett on the field – either side – then that’s remarkably alarming. He’s a top-three playmaker on this roster. Figure it out.
And speaking of playmakers, at least Jayden Reed got his worse game as a Spartan over with? Not even 128 yards and two touchdowns could overcome those two fumbles. He’ll probably bounce back.
The illegal block call on Chris Jackson during the Shakur Brown interception overturned a touchdown and was a BS call. But in the end, you should have the ability to overcome those against teams like Rutgers.
Just to get a temperature of the room here, let’s get your prediction for number of wins this season.
How many games will MSU win?
This poll is closed
Let’s just riff on the other Big Ten games for a second.
-I know this goes against everything we know about Midwestern politeness, but Graham Mertz absolutely is playing Jack Coan out of a job in Wisconsin. Probably a good time to start getting those transfer papers ready.
-Maryland getting 40-pieced by Northwestern might actually be the worst Big Ten performance this weekend. November 21 just looked A LOT better.
-I, personally, think Michael Penix was .00008 inches short of the pylon, but who cares? That was such an incredible end to the game that you just have to give it to him.
-Good for Purdue to beat Iowa, I guess? I have no real take on that game, sorry.
-Ohio State winning by 35 still wasn’t enough. I wanted to see Nebraska lose by 85.
-No comment on Michigan vs. Minnesota.
Pretty cool history in that Minnesota-Michigan game actually! So let’s give a nod to that.
The Big Ten Conference is proud to announce that tonight’s game between @GopherFootball and @UMichFootball features the first all-African American football officiating crew in the history of the @bigten and any Autonomy Five conference. https://t.co/YrDAWPBbu2 pic.twitter.com/qWQh1RPYzh— Big Ten Football (@B1Gfootball) October 24, 2020
You think a double doink is bad? Buddy, how about this?
oh my god yes this should win you the game automatically https://t.co/GPe5I1wXez— BUM CHILLUPS AKA SPENCER HALL (@edsbs) October 24, 2020
Alright, one more thing from the Indiana game. This looks like fine art.
Great moment in Penn State-Indiana—an Indiana defender signaling for touchdown after intentionally letting Penn State score while the dejected touchdown scorer realizes his mistake pic.twitter.com/PpQFfMqqI7— Rodger Sherman (@rodger) October 24, 2020
Thanks for reading, gang. Tough week coming up and it will only get worse next Saturday. Death is inevitable and time is a flat circle. Go Green.